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FWC explores causes of Indian River Lagoon's stinking fish kill

Indian River Lagoon to have emergency cleanup due to mysterious fish kill

Dead fish discovered in Brevard,  (Photo: Justin Vaden)
Dead fish discovered in Brevard, (Photo: Justin Vaden)

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Several Brevard County agencies are working together to formulate an emergency cleanup plan in response to a fish kill leaving fish of up to 15 species dead and dying in the Indian River Lagoon, News 6 partner Florida Today reported. 

Reports of dead fish ranging from blowfish to stingrays, began late last week along the shores and waters from Titusville to Cocoa Beach and as far south as the Pineda Causeway.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesperson Frank McCloy said the FWC is working on the problem. 

“A caller said there were dead puffer fish near the park,” McCloy said to Florida Today. “We told him that there has been a higher than normal concentration of nanoplanktons in the area.”

Nanoplankton are the micro-organisms that share the river with fish and other water creatures.

"The causes of the fish kill are not immediately known, although the Indian River Lagoon has been experiencing what ecologists describe as a brown tide. It leaves behind clumps of rotted, dead vegetation and depleted oxygen levels," Florida Today reported. "Also a possible factor is El Niño, which typically brings heavier-than-normal rains and has been cited by ecologists as contributing ecologically damaging runoff to the lagoon." 

See Florida Today's gallery of the growing fish deaths.